Tips for the Perfect Holiday Party
We love to host and will find just about any excuse to have people over. In the last year, we've hosted Thanksgiving, a Christmas character costume party, a St. Patty's party, a Halloween party, and a college-football opening weekend tailgate party (in addition to many small get-togethers). Here are a few tips for throwing the perfect holiday theme party (and yes, in Alabama, the opening weekend of college football is a holiday)!
1. Start early and make a plan.
Any given holiday or event can have many focuses. For example, if you're throwing a Halloween party, you should decide early whether you want the party to be scary or maybe just spooky (skeletons and evil creatures or maybe just black cloth and spider webs). Decide on the colors you want and think through what supplies you may need. Once you have an idea of the type of party you want to have for that holiday, you can shop with more focus. Then begin to collect items. For example, we knew that we would want to do a St. Patrick's Day themed party for Dustin's birthday in March, so we began stocking up on items in February before stores started to run low. The weeks leading up to the party were less stressful because we already had plates, cups, and much of our decor in a closet, just waiting to be used!
2. Play up the features of your home.
Do you have a large mantle, or maybe a doorway or half-wall in your space? Take advantage of these features with decor. We have a long island light that we always decorate - either with a "CHEERS" sign for St. Patty's or a fake metal chain for Halloween. We also have a large mantle that we adorn, and we're sure to include a coordinating table cloth and centerpiece on our large round dining table. One of my favorite things we did for Halloween this year was use a couple of partial wall corners to drape spider webs. It was simple but had great impact!
3. Be creative with food & drink.
One of the best ways to drive the theme home is to keep it going with the food! Last December we hosted a Christmas character party, and one of my girlfriends had the great idea to make all of the food relate back to Christmas movies. We ended up with Beef & Cheese Sliders (Elf), Little Nero's Pizza Bagel Bites (Home Alone), Candy Cane Forest Red Velvet Cupcakes (Elf), etc. It was so fun! For St. Patty's Day, I tried to theme my food green - jalapeno chips, shamrock cookies with green sprinkles, etc. And then for Halloween, I did spider web taco dip and black and orange cupcakes. Get creative!
4. Get your guests involved.
Whether it's inviting everyone to wear a certain color (green for St. Patty's, crimson and white for football), having an all-out costume party, or maybe focusing on an event (like a big game), get your guests in on the action! This creates conversation opportunities and makes everyone feel at home.
5. Don't overthink it.
While this may be preaching to myself, try not to stress too much over the details. It's kind of like a wedding - everyone appreciates the finishing touches but what they really remember is the fun!